Our mission

The Jeannette Rankin Foundation provides unrestricted Scholar Grants to students who identify as women or nonbinary, are 35 and older and demonstrate financial need. Inspired by our namesake, Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation transforms futures through education.

Our vision

Our vision is to inspire a better world by empowering women through education.

Inspired by Jeannette Rankin, the great force

Born in 1880, Jeannette Rankin lived a bold life. She recognized the inequities in American society throughout her lifetime, put on her hat and got to work to create meaningful change. As a suffragist, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress and the only woman to vote on the resolution for the 19th Amendment giving women the national right to vote, she forged a better future for all women in our country.

Our Story

Empowering women since 1976

When Jeannette Rankin died in 1973 at the age of 92, she bequeathed part of her Georgia estate to help “mature unemployed women workers.” Jeannette’s personal assistant, Reita Rivers, and friends Sue Bailey, Gail Dendy, Margaret Holt and Heather Kleiner established the Jeannette Rankin Foundation in 1976 with $16,000 of seed money from the estate. To honor Jeannette’s request, the foundation was created to award scholarships to women college students 35 and older with low income. The first scholarship was awarded in 1978 in the amount of $500.

Our impact

Transforming futures through education

Today, we have awarded more than $4 million to women across the country. We now call scholarships, Scholar Grants, to reflect the unrestricted nature of the award that has allowed more than 1,300 women to pursue their educational aspirations.

“Like Jeannette Rankin, I hope to be a force for social impact. The studies I am immersed in contain information that won’t just stay in books but will have an impact on people’s lives.”

— Samantha, Rankin Scholar, BS Nursing, Montana State University